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Nature Photography in Your Own Backyard

Updated on August 5, 2016
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years.

All images, except where noted , were taken in my backyard
All images, except where noted , were taken in my backyard | Source

Most photographers regardless of their specialty seem to be fascinated by nature and everything that can be found in it.

The good thing is that once you think about it you can capture nature based images almost anywhere. In other words nature is really very accessible.

All you have to do is step outside and look for any green area. My patio or backyard, for example features quite a number of flowering species as well as a couple of fruit trees plus several areas where butterflies and birds congregate.

So in essence I don't have to travel far if I want to photograph some parts of nature.

Yes if I wanted to capture more exotic subjects then I would probably need to take a trip but I certainly can do an entire project just on my backyard alone and so can you if you know what to look for.

 CC0 Public Domain
CC0 Public Domain | Source

Take for example flowers. I Can photograph the flowers themselves in a variety of forms. From regular eye view shots to macros.

I can then experiment with different angles and perspectives as well and trying out different light conditions and not to mention using different mediums like color and black and white.

Then I can move on to the petals and portray them in macro form, show their translucency, capture them in close up mode when it has rained and the water droplets are still on the petals. From low angles to higher ones and everything in between.

Every shot seems like a new one even though it is of the same subject and with digital I don't have to worry about running out of film.

Try playing with light like from the top, from the side and backlight. Don't forget to capture some silhouette if possible too.

Some of the flowers in my backyard


Once I feel confident that I have captured flowers and petals to my content I can now focus on their leaves.

Again from regular eye shots to macros and everything in between. The thing is to think creatively.

Leaves can often show more detail than the flower itself and some leaves are really intriguing to the view plus they often show more texture than the flower itself or even the petals.

One of the few varieties of mushrooms that I often find


Once I am done with the flowers, the petals and the leaves I can begin to seek out fruits, berries, and seed pods.

Their shapes and textures open up an entire realm of possibilities. Use different light set ups, new angles and different perspectives.

Just like you do with flowers, think creatively and think outside the box.

Do not underestimate the power of rain. These subjects often look better when photographed right after a rainstorm and the colors are usually enhanced because of the water.

Plus you get the boduns of having the ambient light be diffused because of the cloud cover.

You can also photograph water droplets by isolating them against the body or surface of the flower or petal.

Try using a wide aperture to blur the background on where the droplet is sitting.

The same is true for any subject that you want to isolate against its background.

Remember that diffused light is often softer and prevents the creation of harsh shadows.

Insects and other creatures as found in my backyard


Many backyards depending on the location and the environment can have several varieties of mushrooms and fungi.

I don't get many of these but every so often some specimens do show up and they are really great subjects for macro shots.

They seem to be more available when humidity is high for several days in a row plus there are many shaded areas that they seem to prefer.

Insects will be next on the list and due to the many flowering plants and bushes that are found in my backyard I do often see quite a number of butterflies.

Their caterpillars of which the monarch butterfly provides an ample supply, the cocoons and other beneficial and not so beneficial insect specimens.

These too can give you plenty of photogenic subjects.

Will you give it a shot and seek subjects withing your own backyard?

See results

Do not limit yourself to one time of day or even one season. Take pictures during various times of the day and during various seasons.

Where I live the seasons change but everything remains the same so I am not privileged to seeing the beautiful change in colors during Autumn but I make do with photographing whatever I can find. Grass and tree bark often gives me subjects that entice me to take their image.

Once you are done with all living things within your garden, look at other things like stones, the ground itself. For these type of shots like for many of my macro shots I need to get down and dirty.

You need to lie on your belly and probably get dirty but the resulting images will be worth it. Don't forget to look up and look down at everything.

One of the bets tools is a good tripod but when getting low to the ground using my tripod is not feasible so I rely on a bean bag. This is nothing more than a cloth bag full of beans or even a small cushion if need be.

Finally I often see quite a variety of birds and on occasion, some exotics like cockatoos, green parrots and macaws that have made Florida their home after escaping from captivity during Hurricane Andrew back in 1992.

Several hundred species escaped from Metro Zoo and other pet shops but many regularly visit my state during their winter months like orioles and hummingbirds.

Yet other creatures like South American iguanas, boas and African monitor lizards were introduced as part of the pet trade, escaped or were illegally released and now live here year round.

If you do not have a wide array of flowers or bushes that can attract wildlife to your backyard then setting up some bird feeders, bird houses will help.

For butterfly and other nectar loving creatures set up some bananas, oranges, apples or pineapple slices and other sweet fruits on a platform and watch them flock to feast on the sugary nectar that these fruits produce.

Even when you think that you have photographed everything that your backyard offers there are snails, slugs, ants, spiders and lizards.

© 2016 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 18 months ago from Miami, Florida

      MarleneB : Thank you. Glad you found it inspiring.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 18 months ago from Northern California, USA

      The first time I took a close-up of a bee on one of my lavender plants, I was hooked on learning more about photographing nature. You have inspired me to take a journey into my own back yard for the perfect photography sessions.